Nato concerned by China’s ‘rapid and opaque’ military buildup, says Blinken

Nato allies are concerned about China’s rapid and opaque military buildup and its cooperation with Russia, and discussed concrete ways to address the challenges posed by Beijing, US secretary of state Antony Blinken has said. “The members of our alliance remain concerned by the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] coercive policies, by its use of disinformation, by its rapid, opaque military buildup, including its cooperation with Russia,” Blinken told a news conference on Wednesday after a two-day meeting of foreign ministers from the defence alliance. “But we also remain committed…

US and Canada urge China not to harm zero-Covid protesters amid calls for ‘crackdown’

The US and Canada have urged China not to harm or intimidate protesters opposing Covid-19 lockdowns as police clashed with demonstrators and the country’s top security body called for a crackdown on “hostile forces”. Protesters scuffled with police in the southern Chinese megacity of Guangzhou late on Tuesday night, according to witnesses and footage. Security personnel in hazmat suits formed ranks shoulder-to-shoulder, taking cover under riot shields, to make their way down a street in the southern city’s Haizhu district as glass smashed around them, videos posted on social media…

Biden and Sunak vow to support Ukraine and counter China in first call

The US president, Joe Biden, and Britain’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, agreed during talks on Tuesday to work together to support Ukraine and stand up to China, the White House said. They spoke for the first time a few hours after Sunak became Britain’s third prime minister this year, inheriting an economic crisis after the resignation of Liz Truss whose tenure lasted 49 days. Only in recent days has Biden appeared to publicly criticise Truss’s doomed economic strategy, in a rare intervention by the US president. Relations between the…

Chinese spy duo charged in Huawei case as US condemns ‘egregious’ interference

Two Chinese intelligence officers tried to bribe a US law enforcement official as part of an effort to obtain inside information about a criminal case against the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, federal prosecutors alleged in an indictment unsealed on Monday. The announcement of charges against the two alleged agents came as attorney general Merrick Garland detailed two other cases in which Chinese intelligence operatives harassed dissidents inside the United States and pressured US academics to work for them. Garland said that the cases showed that China “sought to interfere with…

Pakistan’s PM says rival Imran Khan is ‘biggest liar on earth’

Pakistan’s prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, has accused the former premier Imran Khan of being the “the biggest liar on the face of the earth” and injecting poison into society to “dangerously polarise the electorate” after he was toppled from power earlier this year. Speaking in his first interview from Pakistan since he took over as prime minister in April, Sharif, 70, spoke unsparingly of the “damage” that Khan, the former cricket superstar who ruled Pakistan from 2018, had done to the country in both domestic and foreign affairs. Pakistan is…

Apple shifts some iPhone 14 production from China to India

Apple has begun making iPhone 14s in India, as it moves some production away from China for the first time against a backdrop of Chinese Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns and geopolitical tensions between the US and the country’s communist government. A production line in Chennai has begun operation, assembling the iPhone 14 for the domestic Indian market. The move, which marks the first time the company has assembled iPhones outside of China in the same year they were released, is part of a plan to disentangle its manufacturing operations from the…

US congressional delegation visits Taiwan on heels of Pelosi trip

A US congressional delegation has arrived in Taiwan, days after China held military drills around the island in retaliation for the House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit. The five-member delegation, led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, will meet President Tsai Ing-wen and attend a banquet hosted by the foreign minister, Joseph Wu, during the visit, according to Taiwan’s foreign ministry. The American Institute in Taiwan said the US politicians would discuss “US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change, and other significant issues of mutual interest”.…

US and Chinese officials discuss Biden-Xi meeting amid Taiwan friction

US and Chinese officials have been discussing a face-to-face meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, amid a significant escalation in friction over Taiwan. Kurt Campbell, the coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs in Biden’s national security council, confirmed on Friday that the two leaders had raised the possibility of an in-person meeting when they last talked by phone in late July “and agreed to have their team’s follow up to sort out the specifics”. Campbell said there were no new details to announce, but both leaders are expected to take part…

Blinken makes case for democracy at start of sub-Saharan Africa tour

Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has appealed to “governments, communities and peoples” across Africa to embrace Washington’s vision of democracy, openness and economic partnership in the first major speech of three-nation tour of sub-Saharan Africa. Blinken was speaking in South Africa on the first stop of his tour, which will include the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The new diplomatic effort comes after several years during which Washington appeared uninterested in sub-Saharan Africa. The tour has been portrayed as an attempt to counter recent efforts by…

Taiwan crisis: China defends calling off US military talks as exercises set to resume

China’s defence ministry defended its shelving of military talks with the United States in protest against Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last week, as its military said it would continue drills around Taiwan on Monday. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) posted online that it would practise anti-submarine attacks and sea raids on Monday, following four days of unprecedented drills around the self-ruled island. Defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian defended the decision to suspend military channels, saying in an online post on Monday: “The current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait…